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Seeing the School Psychologist: What Does it Mean? (page 2)

Seeing the School Psychologist: What Does it Mean?

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Updated on Aug 27, 2013

If your child runs into difficulty, for example, the very first person you see may be a guidance counselor. In middle and high schools, every student is usually assigned to one of these professionals, and both kids and parents are encouraged to stay in close touch. Guidance counselors may then refer a kid to a social worker, especially if a problem can be addressed with community resources. A social worker may provide some counseling as well as practical help. For example, says Skalski, “If a kid comes to school without glasses or shoes, social workers know exactly where to go.”

A school psychologist, on the other hand, has received advanced training that can provide yet another level of expertise. A child with any chronic condition, for example, will need careful ongoing attention to the classroom environment as well as teaching methods. A school faced with a crisis such as a teacher death or an environmental catastrophe will also need expert advice. These are the jobs of school psychologists.

Over a long and successful career, Desrochers looks back with satisfaction at many times when he was able to reach out to help kids and families. In addition to conducting hundreds of very technical special education evaluations, “I’ve helped organize a school’s response to a student’s death, intervened for teachers with a principal who was alienating his staff, helped coordinate school fundraising for Hurricane Katrina—you name it, I’ve probably done it! I like to get involved in all aspects of a school community.”

So if your child is not thriving—whether because school seems too hard or too easy, a school psychologist can be an invaluable ally. “Really,” says Skalski, “We can be very helpful!” For Desrochers, as for others with many years in the field, extensive technical training is a source of great pride. In the end, however, the most enduring satisfaction comes in those small moments that can change the course of a life.

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